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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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April 26, 2002 - 6,426 subscribers
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(Help BenefitsLink to provide this newsletter at no charge to you -- our sponsors pay our way. Remember to visit them periodically; we try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

AAHP Releases PricewaterhouseCoopers Study Identifying Sources of Higher Health Costs
Press release; includes link to full report. Excerpt: "The American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) [on April 24] released a report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers that identifies the specific factors that are driving costs higher in the health care system." (American Association of Health Plans)

Tiered Hospital Health Plans Stir Debate in California
Excerpt: "As hospital spending overtakes prescription drugs as the biggest driver of medical cost inflation, California insurers have responded with new plans designed to hold down premium increases by charging patients more for care at costlier hospitals. Under health benefit plans recently rolled out by Pacificare and Blue Shield, the list of hospitals available to patients using the insurers' provider networks won't change, but prices will." (Sacramento Bee)

California Legislators to Form Committee to Study Costs vs. Benefits of Mandated Benefit Proposals
Excerpt: "HMO industry leaders say that if the 18 bills for various treatments pass, California employers and consumers would have to pay an increase of more than $3 billion for coverage." (Los Angeles Times)

Boehner Urges DOL to Delay New Claims Procedure Regulation for Group Health Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "Dear Secretary Chao: We are writing to urge the Department of Labor to take immediate steps to revise the ERISA group health plan claims procedure regulation issued during the last days of the Clinton Administration.... [T]hese new health plan rules will take effect beginning on or after July 1, 2002 but not later than January 1, 2003.... [I]mplementation of this rule will cause great uncertainty for health plan participants, beneficiaries, sponsors and administrators ..." (Reprinted online by the American Benefits Council)

Study: Drug Patent Periods Cost Consumers Billions
Excerpt: "The average period of market exclusivity enjoyed by brand-name pharmaceuticals has gone up more than 10% over the last 20 years, costing American consumers billions in increased healthcare costs, according to a study released Thursday." (Reuters Health via Yahoo! News)

Ways and Means Members Comment on Use of Tax Credits to Replace Employer-Based Health Insurance
Excerpt: "The United States should provide individuals with tax credits to buy health insurance instead of treating premiums as tax deductions, said House Ways and Means Member Jim McCreary, R-La., on April 25. However, Ways and Means colleague Jim McDermott, D-Wash., disagreed, stating that a government-funded system is preferable." (taxCCHGROUP.com)

More Gen Xers Juggle Jobs, Parents' Care
Excerpt: "Baby boomers have long struggled to balance work with caring for aging parents. Now it's Generation X's turn.... It's the start of a looming trend that demographic experts say will have lasting implications for employers. Already, an estimated $ 29 billion in productivity is lost by businesses each year because of workers' caregiving duties." (USA Today via Society for Human Resource Management)

(Following items are in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)


ERISA Decision Gives Chevron Retirees Back Pay
Excerpt: "Chevron employees duped into retiring just before the company offered lucrative buyout packages will get paid retroactively as the result of a San Francisco federal court decision holding the oil giant liable for misleading the workers at its Richmond refinery." (The San Francisco Chronicle via Society for Human Resource Management)

ABA Tax Section Members Comment on Use of Partnership Interests and Options as Compensation (PDF)
The document was prepared on January 28, 2002, in response to an IRS request for practitioners' comments. Excerpt: "[The IRS and the Treasury Department] requested public comment on 'the tax consequences to the recipient of the partnership interest as well as to the partnership upon the exercise of a partnership option or conversion of a debt or preferred interest in that partnership.' These Comments and recommendations were prepared in response to the request ..." (American Bar Association)

Commentary: Pension Folly-- How Losses Become Profits When CEO Compensation is Calculated
Excerpt: "In the land of executive compensation, there is nothing like being paid for profits that you can be sure will be counted, even if they do not exist. Why take chances with real earnings?" (New York Times; free registration required)




Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Marketing Consultant (Conversion & Case Management) for WESPAC Plan Services, Inc.
in CA
Benefits Analyst III for Raley's
in CA
Sr. Benefits Administrator for Lynden Incorporated
in WA



Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
401(k) Plan Fiduciary Concerns After Enron: No Stock, No Problems?in ALL STATES on April 30, 2002
presented by ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, Others
After Enron: Employer Securities in Qualified Plansin ALL STATES on May 10, 2002
presented by ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, Others



Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)
Findley Davies Launches HR Technology Consulting Services (Findley Davies, Inc.)
Scott Spiker Joins Stanton Group as President and Chief Executive Officer (Stanton Group)

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Copyright 2002 BenefitsLink.com, Inc., but you may freely distribute this email newsletter in whole. This newsletter is edited by David Rhett Baker, J.D.